Pensions and Labour Resistance in China and Vietnam

Elaine Hui

Pension Systems and Labour Resistance in Post-socialist China and Vietnam: A Welfare Regime Analysis” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2021.2016246) is a new article by Chris King-Chi Chan of the Department of Sociology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong and Elaine Sio-Ieng Hui of the School of Labor and Employment Relations, Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania, USA.

Because of publisher delays, the paper is made available for free download for a short time.

The abstract for the paper states:

Chris Chan

Situated within the literature on welfare regimes, this article investigates workers’ contestation of pension arrangements in post-socialist, authoritarian China and Vietnam, and considers the effects of their actions. Scholars have highlighted economic, cultural, political regime type and political institutions as factors crucial to understanding the welfare regimes of China and Vietnam. However, the “labour factor” – that is, how worker resistance and mobilisation shape welfare provisions – has been under-explored. Focusing on pension provisions in China and Vietnam, this article contends that a labour perspective can deepen knowledge of pension systems and welfare regimes in these two countries. Based on case studies of two notable strikes, interviews and documentary research, this article illustrates that, against the background of transitioning from state socialism to market-Leninism, pension provisions and welfare regimes in China and Vietnam have been constantly contested by workers. It also shows that labour resistance has influenced welfare arrangements at various levels in both countries, and that the Vietnamese state was more accommodating to workers’ pension demands than the Chinese state, because of its more strongly redistributive orientation and, relatively, a less controlling political system.

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